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Dojima Sake Brewery visit

Dojima Sake Brewery visit

The Osaka sake brewery Dojima Sake Brewery has established a special presence in the UK, brewing sake in rural Cambridgeshire. We enjoyed a privileged visit behind the scenes, arranged by the Japan Society. Dojima Sake Brewery is in Fordham Abbey, a country house, close to the cathedral town of Ely. Visitors can enjoy a beautiful garden with its own tea house where we were served matcha by members of the UK Urasenke Foundation.

Sake is made from rice, water and koji. The rice for the Dojima sake brewed in Cambridge is imported from Japan. A blend is used of Yamada nishiki (Hyogo Prefecture) and Akita komachi. It is polished at 60-70%. Dojima is an area in central Osaka which was the rice market during the Edo period.

The water comes from a well, 35 metres deep. It is pure and soft, filtered to take out the iron content. Koji is imported from Japan.

The sake brewer (toji) oversees the rigorous processes, which starts importantly with washing the rice, which is then steamed. Hashimoto-san guided us through the dedicated areas in the brewery for koji and the fermentation processes. The result is two kinds of sake. Dojima Junmai – each bottle is numbered 1 to 1,000 to commemorate the start of the brewery. Cambridge vintage – a sake which ages and has a somewhat sweeter taste.

Dojima the company has a history dating back to 1822 in Osaka and remains in the Hashimoto family. The brewery near Cambridge is part of a vision of “sharing Japanese culture with the world”.

There is a system of membership when acquiring the Cambridge sake, priced at £1,000 per bottle. Membership includes privileged access to Fordham Abbey where various events are held including an annual sake festival. We highly recommend a visit to the beautiful gardens with many Japanese features.